The anatomy of Korea-phobia in Japan
Ryuta Itagaki (Doshisha University)
Paper short abstract:
In this presentation, I will describe the historical context and theoretical implications of Korea-phobia in Japan, focusing on hate incidents involving a Korean School in Kyoto. An analysis of the hate speech found therein reveals not so much its “newness,” but rather what we might call the historical layers of Korea-phobia in Japan.
Paper long abstract:
In the afternoon on Friday, December 4th, 2009, a group hoisting flags representing the “Citizens’ League to Deny Foreign Residents’ Privileges” (Zainichi tokken wo yurusanai shimin no kai) descended upon an elementary school for Koreans in Kyoto while it was in session. For an hour, they blasted hate speech through a loudspeaker in front of the classrooms, shouting defamatory phrases such as, “You stink of kimchi”, “You are the children of spies”, and “Korean schools, get out of Japan”. In this presentation, I will describe the historical context and theoretical implications of Korea-phobia in Japan, focusing on these hate incidents. An analysis of the group’s hate speech reveals not so much its “newness”, but rather what we might call the historical layers of Korea-phobia in Japan. (“Korea-phobia” is a neologism I have derived from “Islamophobia”.) I will theorize this contemporary Korea-phobia from a historical perspective, critically collating my findings with the “new racism” theory and ethnicity theory of Europe and the United States. Korea-phobia is a historical product that originated in relationships formed under Japanese colonial rule, continued in a reorganized form during the Cold War, and has been regenerated under new conditions found in East Asia and the world.
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